Did you get that pun? What a nice meal substituted for rice, given how rice is a staple in China?… Yh, not my best title (we’ll just blame it on Katarina). Rice is a staple in China, largely forming the carbohydrate part of a person’s meal and being very cheap to harvest (due to fertile soil conditions and China’s agricultural history).
It is the food equivalent of a universaliser between the rich and poor. I used to buy it for 15p a cup when I was poor (poor student hack) and had it in a glutinous rice dumpling form when student finance came in. And when I was feeling hella fancy I’d refrain from my usual passionfruit bubble tea and get a fermented black rice drink. Strangely experiencing how the other half lives purely through my choice of rice dish. However, this post does not feature rice in its common form as for once, I did not have a bowl of rice with tofu and vegetables! Yay for change!
Meal One: Vanilla and baobab protein chia pudding and a pear. P.s. is it a pear or is it an apple?
Knowing that my vegan protein sources would be very limited in China (tofu makes a daily appearance) I ordered a 1kg bag of chia seeds, which I now see was slightly overboard. That irritating ‘where do you get your protein from’ voice must have locked itself into my subconscious. Partly fulfilling the healthy vegan stereotype of a chia-seed-this chia-seed-that eating person. I used baobab powder, vanilla soy milk and pea protein powder (equivalent to 18 grams of protein). Boabab powder is the superfood powder yet to be catalysed into the recipes of the healthy food cliche and yet to be made into a new flavoured latte craze. If the inability to pronounce superfoods is any indication of future popularity, it is harder to pronounce than both quinoa and cacao. But you heard it here first. A single serving (10g or 2-3 teaspoons) provides 33% of your daily Vitamin C! Not only that, it’s almost 50% fibre, good for bowel regulation. So don’t just dismiss it as a piss-take!
Meal Two: Vegetable dishes.
I often eat an assortment of vegetable dishes and rice for lunch. Often, there is a lack of variety and I get the same miso aubergine and sauteed cabbage dishes. However, I couldn’t believe my eyes when, from the line of brown and grey meat and bone dishes (and I say bone separately because often they are just Frankensteinian cartillage remnants), I spotted butternut squash! It was a rare sighting. I had to move fast. I bypassed the orderly queue of Chinese people, doing what British people hate and I managed to secure it! Yes, it was lucky and yes, it’s likely to be the only time. And yes, I’m still talking about a butternut squash dish…
Meal Three: Rice, rice, baby.
Now, the images shown above seem to be images taken from some kind of miracle fad liquid diet or the very definition of ‘dish water dishes’. But, the glutinous black sesame balls are actually quite tasty. The black sesame paste gives it a sweet molten-lava taste as you bite into the ball, and as you concentrate on preventing it spilling over you you forget the rice casing. I also had a peanut and walnut pudding which was very sweet and warming.
And that’s what I eat as a vegan in China! Now, often people say most days are different, however for me most days are the same and this diary was different.
Thanks for reading!